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Mariupol: Russians think up new pretext for looting, ban the Ukrainian language – advisor to mayor

Thursday, 16 June 2022, 09:58

Iryna Balchuk — Thursday, 16 June 2022, 09:58

The effects of war on building No. 45, Evpatoria, Mariupol. Photo from Andryushchenko's Telegram channel

The Russian occupying forces in Mariupol are accelerating the demolition of buildings damaged by their actions in order to destroy evidence of their crimes. They are also prohibiting school children from speaking in Ukrainian, even during the intervals between classes.

Source: Peter Andryushchenko, advisor to the mayor of Mariupol, on Telegram

Andryushchenko: "The occupiers are intensifying the demolition of buildings and the destruction of evidence. The first commissions consisting of collaborators and the Ministry of Emergency Situations of the Russian Federation have been on a door-to-door tour. Closed-up apartments and partially intact buildings will be broken into for "examination". A new wave of looting under official protection is about to kick off. People are being warned about eviction but the residents of Mariupol continue to live with the terrible consequences of the war even in the entrances to buildings, as at Evpatoria No. 45."

Details: According to Andryushchenko, next week, the occupiers are planning to demolish the emergency hospital building, where it was planned to open an infectious disease department. The decision has been taken to relocate the medical equipment to a neighbouring building and the opening of the infectious disease department has been postponed.

Andryushchenko added that the number of makeshift graves in the city is growing. The mortality rate remains extremely high.

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He also stated that, in addition to the so-called "hygiene procedure reception point"  near the Metro shopping centre, the occupiers have opened a "bathing station" – a public shower accompanied by "zombie cars" [trucks carrying large TV screens broadcasting propaganda videos – ed.]

According to Andryushchenko's information, school authorities are prohibiting teenagers being taught in Ukrainian-language schools from using the Ukrainian language, even during the intervals between classes. The collaborators' directorate of schools is openly threatening "consequences for children and parents" if they are heard speaking Ukrainian.

The administration of the occupiers is also planning to introduce paid travel from 1 August, with a ticket costing 18 roubles (9 hryvinas).

According to Andryushchenko, 12 stolen Ukrainian buses and 4 buses from Russia are running in the city at intervals of 2 to 4 hours.

Background:

  • The siege of Mariupol by Russian troops started on 1 March. From the end of April, the defenders of Mariupol were surrounded inside the Azovstal plant: these consisted of members of the Azov Battalion of the National Guard, the marines, the border force and the police. They continued to hold the fort and asked the world to save them: the marines requested their "extraction", while the Azov Battalion requested the evacuation of their wounded personnel at least. 
  • On the night of 17 May, the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Ukraine announced that the Mariupol garrison had completed its combat mission and the commanders now had the order to save the lives of the personnel. On 16 May, the evacuation of severely wounded fighters to occupied territory started. All the rest were planned to be extracted in several stages. Formally, they have been taken prisoner. The Ukrainian government is planning their exchange.
  • On 20 May, the Ministry of Defence of the Russian Federation announced that all Azovstal fighters had been extracted and that on 16 May, 2,439 people had come out of the bunkers, whom the Russians now considered prisoners of war.
  • Mariupol is now occupied. The Russians have renamed the city's "Freedom Square" "Lenin Square".
  • Vehicles with loudspeakers are driving around the streets of the destroyed city broadcasting Russian propaganda.
  • According to the city council of Mariupol, 10,000 residents may die from infectious diseases by the end of 2022.

The occupiers have deported 50,000 Mariupol residents.